5 Tips to Travel WELL

Whether you travel once a year for a family vacation or you are constantly on the go for routine work travel these five tips make it easier to travel well and keep your health goals on track.

Check out our stress-free travel tips to help you plan and enjoy time away while maintaining a healthy state of mind.

  1. Eating out happens—You are a traveler and part of this experience is to experience new things. That may include new foods and recipes!  So, eating out at least on occasion should happen.  A few smart tricks is to begin your meal with the “to-go” box arriving with your plate.  It is rare for a restaurant entrée to not need dividing in half.  If there is no one who wants to share your meal at the time you order, then plan to take half with you for later.                                    If you don’t see any suitable meal options, check out the sides.  My own habit is to eat many servings of vegetables each day, so I often find myself ordering two or three vegetable side dishes as my meal.  Salads also are a welcome entrée during warm months when you may not have a way to prep salads for yourself.  Most restaurants have several protein options you can add as needed to make it a complete meal.                                                                               The main take away to remember is there is MORE to travel eats than the drive through burger, fries and soda.  Speaking of soda, let water be your beverage of choice.  It will save your budget for other expenditures and help your body feel much better during your travels.        
  2. Stress is a part of travel—The best laid plans are not bullet proof when it comes to travel. Flights may be cancelled, traffic jams may occur, kids may fight and tempers may flare.   Do not let stress ruin your trip!  Managing stress is an essential part of having a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t already have some stress-reducing tools at your disposal, listen up!   Start with breathing.  You may have heard it a thousand times but that is only because it works!  At the first sign of tension (tight shoulders, clenched teeth/fists, blood pressure rising and yes, holding your breath), take 3 deep breaths.  You should feel your belly expand and contract as you breathe in and out, respectively.  Let your shoulders relax or any other body part that you feel is tense.  The best part about this easy stress reliever is you can do it from anywhere, any time!  Our bodies simply cannot stay in a “fight or flight” response when we breathe on purpose. Money is often another stressor that pops up when we travel.  Look for and research activities and potential costs before traveling.  There are many historical sites, parks and lovely attractions which are open and free to the public.  Write down your budget and factor in expected and unexpected costs.  Plan but don’t over plan.  In other words, if you are big on schedules, remember to schedule some downtime too.  There is no reason to go, go, go, every minute.  Enjoy the amenities at your hotel or other accommodations.  These can be stress free and cost free

3. Your body needs to move—As discussed above you need downtime to rest. Your body also needs time to move.  Not the moving you do by car, train or plane but the kind you do with your own body.  Sure, your hotel may have a gym but this is a chance to do something different! There’s nothing better for your mind, body, and soul than connecting with nature. If you’re planning a trip, keep this in mind as you choose a destination.  From lazy days by a lake to falling asleep to ocean waves, a vacation planned around nature is guaranteed to boost your health.  Depending on your location and time of year, you may want to hike, find a walking tour in the city or visit a botanical garden, play in the snow or splash in the pool.  Be creative and explore what is around you.  Remember to ask the locals and hotel employees what they enjoy in the area.

Sometimes you must opt for an in-room routine to see you through your day.  Using resistance bands that are lightweight and easy to pack are one option.  If you didn’t bring an exercise mat, spread a bath towel on the floor to use for simple yoga moves or basics like pushups, sit-ups and lunges.  Stretching is easy to do with nothing at hand between flights in the airport.  Reach overhead, bend and touch your toes and finish with a few trunk twists.  Simple moves that get the blood flowing head to toe make a big difference in the way you feel afterward.

4. Packing—more is LESS— Traveling with a lighter load allows more freedom and mobility. This can also help reduce your travel cost by not having to pay for checked baggage. Skip bulky items. Do you really need a hair dryer, curling iron, 5 extra pairs of shoes and your travel steamer? Most accommodations will have a hair dryer and even an iron if you really need it.   Making a list of outfits for the day before you leave will prevent the need for excess clothing and shoe options.  You can even check with where you’re staying to find out about laundry services.  Stop worrying about forgetting something!  You can buy a toothbrush, if needed.  Do make a list of essentials such as medications, clean underwear, personal electronics and travel documents.  You can probably manage everything else!

 

5. An “app” for that?—We live in an age of electronic helpers (devices). Most of us are carrying one with us every day and everywhere.  Put it to work for you while you travel!  Here are some useful travel apps:

Worried about food borne illness?  Check out the CDC’s Can I eat this app.  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cdc-can-i-eat-this/id858050933

If you or someone you’re traveling with has gluten restrictions, check out Find Me Gluten Free.

https://www.findmeglutenfree.com/

Achieve your travel Zen with this app from Insight timer.

https://insighttimer.com/meditation-app

Need a quick workout to keep you on track.  Try the 7 minute workout.  I have found it available for both android and iPhone devices.  Here is a link for android.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.popularapp.sevenmins&hl=en

With these handy apps, you’re well on your way to vacationing while maintaining health!

 

No matter where you wake up in the morning, there are always opportunities throughout the day to make healthy choices. Find your happy balance for your best trip or vacation.

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